Interview Cassie Walker.
All artwork copyright Jace Rogers.
Jace Rogers, artist, bass player and vocalist in DEAD, and all round legend, took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with Cassie Walker about his art exhibition ‘A Fool For You‘, influences and music.
Cassie Walker: Hey Jace, thanks so much for the chat! Your exhibition ‘A Fool For You’ opens tomorrow (Started Sat 23rd May – 31st May), is it the calm before the storm or are you running around like a headless chook?
Jace Rogers: It’s all pretty calm actually, I hate feeling rushed so I do what I can to prevent panic. I finished my last piece on Monday and hung the show last night so it’s pretty much done. I really only need to make sure the wine is in place and ready for consumption.
Cassie: Collage was a popular choice of art activity for me as a child, did you get a taste for creating at a young age?
Jace: Yeah I did, I know I’ve always loved being creative. I remember painting a tree for my Mum at about age four, pretty sure it was hung on the inside of our kitchen door and I was kind of stoked about it. What I really got hooked on was drawing. From about age eight I used to copy my favourite comic book characters, mostly super heroes, and animal characters. I loved Top Cat! I also drew my favourite bands, Kiss and Devo were great because they had such striking imagery.
Cassie: You grew up in country NSW, was there an art scene where you grew up?
Jace: I wouldn’t have known about a scene but there was a lot of art around and a lot of freedom to be creative. I grew up in and around Mullumbimby so to be honest there were probably a few too many dolphin paintings and mandalas but really it was a pretty great place to be as a kid. My parents always encouraged me and it was definitely part of the local culture to be expressive and creative.
Cassie: An obvious TV influence in your art, has this always been an influence?
Jace: TV and popular culture was fascinating to me as a young kid, there are a lot of references to this in my work. I was pretty obsessed with a lot of shows on the ABC, especially shows that were absurd. Growing up in a regional area it felt like ‘real’ culture was made elsewhere by mythical folk, so it was quite special to me, kind of magic. I still like TV the medium but to a large extent I think it’s used pretty poorly, actually I think most TV content is a horrible waste of time but that’s just my opinion. I really miss Countdown and The Young Ones!
Cassie: Tell me of the relationship you have between visual art and music composition.
Jace: For me the two practices are very much intertwined, one informs the other. Basically I try to constantly create in whatever way I can, by switching between writing music and drawing. I think one rubs off on the other. I do all the art for my band DEAD, to me it’s all the same process. I’m always searching for a riff or an image, that’s what drives me.
Cassie: What music influences your art?
Jace: This is an ongoing and fluid thing. I’m absolutely obsessed with music! I’m a complete music nerd! As a direct influence I’d say bands like Devo, KISS and Judas Priest, bands with a really strong image. I was probably at the perfect impressionable age when music videos became big, no doubt this had an impact on me. Once I really got into metal and punk music my life really changed though, it just really opened a door of freedom for me. In my mind there was no delineation between the sounds and the visuals. In those days I used to listen to a lot of dubbed cassettes that had no information on them whatsoever, sometimes not even a band name, so I just made the rest up in my head. It was a really exciting time. There are a lot of musicians who are amazing visual artists like Don Van Vliet, Michael Gira, Yamantaka Eye, Ray Ahn, all hugely inspirational to me.
Cassie: What music do you listen to when making art?
Jace: A lot of Brian Eno! Sometimes I listen to a lot of noise or soundscape stuff like Masonna, Bastard Noise, Men’s Recovery Project. I also love a heavy tunes from Big Business, Harvey Milk, Nunchukka Superfly, Wicked City, you know this list could go forever. Sometimes I decide to listen to music made by my friends only which is pretty satisfying as I have a lot of talented friends!
Cassie: Do you feel the internet has made it easier to gain exposure for your art or has created more competition?
Jace: Both really. It can be a great way to show your work to folks and get information about an exhibition out. I guess everyone is using the same medium to try to get people’s attention so there is a bit of overload. Honestly I’m pretty crap with promotion and the business side of my practice so I just do what I feel is manageable.
Cassie: By putting your art on an online platform such as facebook have you experience anyone stealing your art?
Jace: Not that I know of. I guess that would be pretty crappy.
Cassie: Do you use the internet as a networking tool?
Jace: Yeah I do. As I said I try to keep that side of things manageable and I’m not great at it but it’s a simple and to an extent effective model for now.
Cassie: Now this exhibition of 28 pieces is ready are you planning your next exhibition?
Jace: I have an exhibition of prints in November at The Beach Burrito in Wollongong which is a collaboration with Jem the drummer of DEAD. I’ll do the images and he’ll do the screen printing. I’m also in discussions about another exhibition here in Castlemaine.
Jace Rogers ‘A Fool For You’ Art Exhibition is ON NOW until Sunday 31st May at The Diggers Store Gallery, 61 Main Road, Campbells Creek.